|Publication number||US4444999 A|
|Application number||US 06/410,544|
|Publication date||Apr 24, 1984|
|Filing date||Aug 23, 1982|
|Priority date||Aug 23, 1982|
|Publication number||06410544, 410544, US 4444999 A, US 4444999A, US-A-4444999, US4444999 A, US4444999A|
|Inventors||Frederic R. Sparrevohn|
|Original Assignee||Sparrevohn Frederic R|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (44), Classifications (12), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of Invention
This invention relates to an electronic circuit means for automatically electronically disconnecting a subscriber's telephone line signal receiving and transmitting terminal equipment from a subscriber's end of a telephone loop circuit when a second telephone set or other terminal equipment is taken off-hook when the line signal receiving and transmitting terminal equipment is operating in an off-hook mode.
2. Prior Art
In telephone systems, a two wire loop is provided between a central office and subscriber's telephonic signal receiving and transmitting terminal equipment. A direct current (DC) voltage within the approximate range of from 42.5 volts to 52.5 volts is applied to the loop circuit as a signal carrier voltage at a central office and this is referred to as a central office battery. The central office has a means for superimposing an additional alternating current (AC) bell ringing voltage on the signal carrier voltage for notifying the subscriber of an incoming call. The bell ringing voltage is nominally between seventy-five and one hundred twenty volts and is primarily for actuating telephone bells on the subscriber's terminal equipment. This bell ringing voltage has been employed in telephone answering equipment for actuating the answering equipment and placing it in an off-hook mode. When the answering equipment goes off-hook, a switch in the answering equipment is closed permitting the signal carrier current to flow around the loop, thereby allowing the answering equipment to perform its function to transmitt and receive telephone signals. This terminal equipment to which the present invention is applicable includes telephone sets, telephone answering machines, computer terminal telephonic equipment, and similarly functioning equipment designed to be actuated by an incoming telephone signal and respond thereto over the telephone loop circuit.
When a telephone answering machine is hooked into the telephone loop circuit and is turned on to be operable, each time an incoming bell signal voltage actuates it, the machine goes off-hook and sends and receives messages in a pre-programmed manner. If a subscriber wishes to intercept any message using a telephone set on the same subscriber's loop circuit, the subscriber must first turn the answering machine off or it will continue to send its pre-recorded message and continue to function in the pre-programmed manner interfering with the subscriber's use of the telephone set. This invention provides a means for automatically disconnecting the answering machine or other terminal equipment in an off-hook mode from the subscriber's loop circuit when the subscriber takes another telephone or other terminal equipment off-hook providing the subscriber instant access to the telephone without interference from the answering machine. This opportunity has not previously been available without first shutting off the answering machine manually.
The present invention embodies an electronic disconnector circuit for automatically disconnecting or disabling an off-hook subscriber's answering device from the telephone loop circuit when the subscriber takes another answering device, such as a telephone set, off-hook. The disconnector circuit means is connected in series with the terminal device which is to be automatically disconnected thereby across the subscriber's loop circuit. The disconnector circuit means and its serially connected terminal device are in parallel with other terminal devices on the subscriber's loop circuit which are not to be automatically disconnected by the disconnector circuit means. The disconnector circuit means first allows the AC bell ringing voltage to appear across the serially connected terminal device placing the terminal device in an off-hook mode. In this mode DC current flows through the disconnector circuit means and the terminal device. The disconnector circuit means senses a voltage across itself, thereby actuating the circuit and allowing current to continue flowing therethrough. In this mode, the terminal device operates in its normal operational mode. When any of the other parallelly connected terminal devices, such as a telephone set, are taken off-hook, the voltage drop across the loop circuit is lowered. This causes the current flowing through the disconnector circuit means to drop. The disconnector circuit means then senses the change in current flowing through itself and shuts off the flow of current in the series circuit effectively shutting off the serially connected terminal device and placing it in an unactivated on-hook mode. This leaves the off-hook terminal device free from interference from the disconnected terminal device. Refering to the circuit diagram in FIG. 1, showing a specific embodiment of the present invention, the invention may more clearly be understood by describing this circuit as used with a telephone answering machine. The automatic electronic disconnector circuit shown in FIG. 1 comprises a circuit described as follows: A positive input terminal T1 connects in parallel configuration a cathode of a diode D, a first end of a first resistor R1, an emitter of a PNP transistor Q1, and a cathode of a zener diode Z. A second end of R1 connects to a first end of a second resistor R2, a first end of a capacitor C, and a collector of an NPN transistor Q2. Second ends of R2 and C connect to a base of Q1. A collector of Q1 connects to a base of Q2, to a first end of a third resistor R3 and to a second end of a fourth resistor R4. An anode of Z connects to a first end of R4. An anode of D, an emitter of Q2 and a second end of R3 are all connected to a negative output terminal T2.
The disconnector circuit is connected in series with the answering machine which is to be automatically placed in an on-hook mode when a telephone set is taken off hook. T1 is connected to a positive line of the loop circuit and T2 is connected to a positive terminal of the answering machine. The negative terminal of the answering machine is connected to the negative loop line. Diode D is included to assure that T1 is always positive with respect to terminal T2 to protect the transistors Q1 and Q2. A full wave diode rectifier bridge can be connected between the negative and positive terminals of the disconnector circuit and in series with the one of the loop circuit lines to assure that T1 will always be positive when loop current flows. This modified embodiment eliminates the need for the diode D and will be described more fully in the Preferred Embodiment section.
Basically, this embodiment of the automatic electronic disconnector circuit determines when to operate by sensing a combination of the voltage across itself and the amount of change in loop current flowing through the disconnector circuit and the answering machine.
An AC bell voltage from the central office is used to actuate the answering machine. This voltage is rectified by the diode so that a pulsating DC voltage appears at T1. This voltage is high enough to cause the zener diode Z to conduct, thereby causing the answering machine to switch to an off-hook mode allowing DC current to flow around the telephone loop circuit. When a parallelly connected telephone set is taken off-hook, the current flowing through the answering machine and the resistor R1 of the disconnector circuit drops. The change in voltage drop across R1 is transfered across capacitor C and resistor R2 to the base of Q1 reducing base drive current to Q2. This reduces the current flow through Q2 and further reduces the voltage drop across R1. This sequence continues until the circuit is completely turned off and the answering machine is returned to an on-hook mode. When the telephone set is returned to the on-hook mode, the answering machine will be returned to the off-hook mode if the pre-programmed sequence has not run its course. The machine will complete its pre-programmed functions and then will be ready for its next cycle of operation.
FIG. 1 is a schematic circuit diagram of the present invention employing transistor means for sensing current combined with voltage sensing as a disconnector circuit with a diode means for protecting the transistor means from excessive voltage.
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a telephone system embodying the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing a terminal device in series with a disconnector circuit means in a loop line of the two wire telephone loop circuit.
FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a second embodiment of the present invention for opening both of the loop circuit lines feeding the terminal device.
FIG. 5 is a modification of FIG. 1 employing a full wave diode rectifier means to assure that input voltage to the PNP transistor is positive.
FIG. 6 is a circuit diagram of the disconnector circuit of FIG. 4 for opening both of the loop lines simultaneously.
FIG. 7 is a circuit diagram of an embodiment of the present invention employing a voltage sensitive zener diode and an electromagnetic relay means for disconnecting the terminal equipment.
Referring to the block diagram of FIG. 2, a telephone system using the present invention is shown. Included is a central office 10 having positive and negative batteries 11 and 12 respectively. The batteries may be various types of sources of DC potential but are referred to herein for simplicity as batteries. Two subscriber telephone sets 13 and 14 each having an on-hook-off-hook switch 13a and 14a respectively are each connected between subscriber loop lines 15b and 16b. The subscriber loop lines are coupled to central office loop lines 15 and 16 respectively at subscriber line connecting terminals 15a and 16a respectively. A controlled telephone answering machine 17 is connected serially with an automatic electronic circuit disconnector means 20 forming a series network coupled between loop lines 15b and 16b. The disconnector circuit means 20 comprises the invention described herein. When the central office applies an AC bell ringing potential across lines 15 and 16, the answering machine 17 goes off-hook and a signal carrier DC potential receiving switch 17a closes. When a subscriber telephone set, represented here as one of two sets 13 and 14, is taken off-hook, the first set to be taken off-hook closing the on-hook-off-hook switch causes a voltage across the subscriber loop lines to drop thereby actuating the disconnector circuit as described in the summary section and herein below. Upon being actuated, the disconnector circuit stops the flow of current to the answering machine and the telephone set may thereafter be used without interference from the answering machine.
Two basic embodiments of the disconnector circuit of the present invention are shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. FIG. 3 shows a circuit for controlling current flow through a first loop line 15b into a telephonic terminal device 18 and out thereof through a second loop line 16b. FIG. 4 shows a circuit for opening both of the loop lines 15b and 16b connected to the terminal device 18. Each of these embodiments comprise current sensing means 21, voltage sensing means 22, and line disconnecting means 23.
Referring to the block diagram of FIG. 3 and the schematic diagram of FIG. 5 a preferred embodiment of the circuit is described. The circuit of FIG. 5 is a modification of the circuit of FIG. 1 described in the Summary section wherein the diode D is replaced by a full wave diode bridge rectifier 24 comprising diodes 24a, 24b, 24c, and 24a. A first circuit terminal 25 is connected to the first loop line 15b, and a second circuit terminal 26 is connected serially to a telephonic terminal device input 27. A telephonic terminal device output 28 is connected to the second loop line 16b as shown in FIG. 3. The order of the connections for the circuit described in FIG. 5 and the terminal device 18 is not important so long as the disconnector circuit 20 and the terminal device 18 are connected in series between the loop lines 15b and 16b.
A disconnecter circuit positive line 29 of the circuit 20 shown in FIG. 5 is connected to a bridge positive line 30 and a connector circuit negative line 31 is connected to a bridge negative line 32. The circuit positive line 29 further connects in parallel configuration a first resistor 33 first end 34, an emitter 35 of a PNP transistor 36 and a zener diode 37 cathode end 38. A first resistor second end 39 connects to a second resistor 40 first end 41, a capacitor 42 first end 43 and an NPN transistor 44 collector 44a. A second resistor 40 second end 45 and a capacitor 42 first end 46 both connect to a base 47 of the PNP transistor 36. A PNP transistor collector 48 connects to an NPN transistor 44 base 49, to a third resistor 50 first end 51 and a fourth resistor 52 second end 53. An anode 54 of the zener diode 37 connects to a fourth resistor 52 first end 55. An emitter 56 of the NPN transistor 44 and a third resistor second end 57 connect to the negative line 31.
As shown in the block diagram of FIG. 3, this embodiment of the automatic electronic disconnector circuit operates similarly to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 which was described in the Summary section. The circuits differ only in that the bridge circuit 24 replaces the diode D. The bridge makes it possible to connect terminal 25 to a positive or negative loop line without making the disconnector circuit inoperative, so long as terminal 26 is connected to a loop line having opposite polarity to that to which terminal 25 is connected. The bridge assures that line 29 will always be positive with respect to line 31.
This embodiment determines when to operate by sensing a combination of voltage between lines 29 and 31 and an amount of change in loop current flowing through the series circuit of the disconnector circuit and terminal device. Referring to FIG. 2, an AC bell voltage means 58 applies an AC bell voltage between loop lines 15 and 16 upon the closing of the bell ring actuating means 59, here shown as a switch. This voltage is above the zener voltage and the zener diode 37 conducts current thereby causing the answering machine switch 17a to close placing the machine in an off-hook mode allowing DC loop current to flow through the telephone loop circuit lines 15 and 16 from the DC voltage source 11 in the central office. This DC voltage is used as a sound communication carrier in the telephone system.
When a parallelly connected subscriber's telephone set is taken off-hook, as for example the first telephone 13 of FIG. 2 and represented by telephone set 13b of FIG. 3, the telephone set switch 13a closes and places the telephone set in an off-hook mode and the DC voltage across lines 15 and 16 drops causing the current flowing through the first resistor 33 to drop producing a change in voltage drop across the first resistor. This change in voltage drop across the first resistor is transferred to the base 47 of the PNP transistor 36 across capacitor 42 and the second resistor 40 thereby reducing base and collector currents flowing in the PNP transistor. This reduces the base drive current of the NPN transistor 44 which further reduces the voltage drop across the first resistor and the sequence continues in an instantaneous manner and ultimately shuts off current flowing through the disconnecter circuit and its serially connected terminal device 18. The telephone set is then free from interference from the disconnected terminal device. When the telephone set is placed back on-hook, the switch 13a opens and if the terminal device is still in an operating mode, having not completed its pre-programmed sequence of operating events, the terminal device will be re-connected to the line and continue through the sequence until it is ready for the next bell ringing voltage to actuate it.
In some instances it may be desirable to electronically and mechanically isolate the telephonic terminal device while a telephone set or other terminal device is taken off-hook. A second novel embodiment of this invention shown in block diagram FIG. 4 and schematic diagram FIG. 6 provides a means for achieving this mode of isolation. Referring to the block diagram of FIG. 4, when the terminal device 18 is actuated by the bell ringing voltage and goes off-hook, current flows through a current sensing means 21a actuating a voltage sensing means 22a. The voltage sensing means thereafter samples the voltage between loop lines 15b and 16b. When a telephone set 13c is taken off hook, the voltage between the loop lines 15b and 16b drops. The voltage sensing means 22a senses this voltage drop reduction and activates the line disconnecting means 23a thereby disconnecting the loop lines from the terminal device 18. When the telephone set is placed back on-hook, the voltage sensing means detects an increase in loop line voltage and de-activates the line disconnecting means thereby re-connecting the terminal device to the loop lines 15b and 16b.
Refering to FIG. 6, a second embodiment of the invention is described. Circuit terminals 25a and 25b are connected to loop lines 15b and 16b respectively and the terminals 25a and 25b are each respectively further connected to circuit lines 15c and 16c respectively at connecting positions 60a and 60b respectively which connect to first and second light emitting diodes (LED) 61 and 62 of first and second optical couplers at LED anode ends 63,64, to first and second diodes 65, 66 at cathode ends 67,68 thereof and to first ends 69,70 of first and second capacitors 71,72 respectively. LED cathode ends 73,74, first and second diode anodes 75,76, and first and second capacitor second ends 77, 78 are all respectively connected to loop lines 15b, 16b extensions 15c, 16c. The loop line extension 15c further connects to a third diode 79 anode end 80 and a fourth diode 81 cathode end 82 and further to a normally closed relay means 84 (shown enclosed in dotted lines). The loop line extension 16c further connects to a fifth diode 85 anode end 86 and a sixth diode 87 cathode end 88 and further to a second normally closed relay switching contact 89 of the relay means 84.
The third and fifth diode cathode ends 90,91 connect to a first end 92 of a first resistor 93 and an emitter 94 of a PNP transistor 95. A second end 96 of the first resistor connects to a base 97 of the PNP transistor and to light sensitive resistors 61a, 62a first ends 98, 99. The light sensitive resistor 61a and LED 61 and light sensitive resistor 62a and LED 62 are optical couplers 61 and 62 respectively. Anodes 100, 101 of the fourth and sixth diodes and second ends 102, 103 of resistors 61a and 62a respectively are all connected to a negative line 104 of the disconnector circuit. A collector 105 of the PNP transistor connects to a positive line 106 of the disconnector circuit. The positive line 106 connects to a second resistor first end 108, a third resistor 109 first end 110, an operational amplifier 111 positive power lead 112, a zener diode 113 cathode end 114, a seventh diode 115 cathode end 116, and a relay coil 117 first end 118 of the relay 84. A second resistor 107 second end 119 connects to a fourth resistor 120 first end 121, a third capacitor 122 first end 123 and to a negative input 124 of the operational amplifier 111. The third resistor 109 connects to a fifth resistor 125 first end 126, a sixth resistor 127 first end 128, and a positive input 129 of the operational amplifier 111. A zener diode 113 anode end 130, a fourth resistor 120 second end 131, a capacitor 122 second end 132, a fifth resistor 125 second end 133, and an operational amplifier 111 negative power lead 134 are all connected to the negative line 104. An operational amplifier 111 output 135 is connected to a seventh diode anode end 136, a relay coil 117 second end 137, a seventh resistor 138 first end 139 and an eighth capacitor 140 first end 141. A seventh resistor 138 second end 142 and eighth capacitor 140 second end 143 are connected to a sixth resistor 127 second end 144. The relay first and second switching contacts 83, 89 co-operably switch respectively between first and second stationary relay contacts 145, 146, and third and fourth stationary contacts 147, 148 of the relay 84. The said first and second switching contacts are cooperably maintained in a normally closed position as shown in FIG. 6 by a spring means 117a. The first and second stationary contacts are connected respectively to positive and negative terminals 149, 150 of the disconnector circuit for connecting respectively to a terminal device positive lead 151 and a negative lead 152. Connected across the third and fourth stationary contacts 147, 148 is an eighth resistor 153.
When the disconnector circuit of FIG. 6 is connected as shown in the block diagram of FIG. 4, the following operational sequence of FIG. 6 applies.
The central office 10 ring signal means applies an AC bell ringing voltage to the loop circuit. AC current flows around the loop circuit following a path through the first and second capacitors, the first and second relay contacts and the terminal device thereby actuating the terminal device to an off-hook mode. While the terminal device is off-hook, DC current flows from the central office around the loop circuit and through the terminal device. If line 15 is positive with respect to line 16, current flows through the light emitting diode (LED) 61 and the second diode 66. If line 15 is negative with respect to line 16, current flows through LED 62 and the first diode 65. A diode full wave rectifier bridge comprising the third, fourth, fifth and sixth diodes 79, 81, 85, and 87 provides a positive voltage to the emitter 94 of the PNP transistor 95 whether line 15 is positive or negative with respect to line 16. When current flows through either of the LEDs 61 or 62, the LED will emit light and cause its corresponding light sensitive resistor 61a or 62a to conduct current providing base drive for the PNP transistor 95 thereby turning the PNP transistor on. This transistor is basically a switch used to switch power to the disconnector circuit when the terminal device 18 goes off-hook. Second, third, fourth and fifth resistors 107, 109, 120, and 125 form a balanced bridge. When power is first applied, the third capacitor 122 holds the voltage at the capacitor 122 first end 123, the negative input 124 of the operational amplifier 111, to a value which is lower than the voltage at the positive input 129 of the operational amplifier long enough so that the voltage at the output 135 of the operational amplifier rises to that of the collector 105 of the PNP transistor. A positive voltage from the operational amplifier output is then fed back to the positive input through feed back resistors seventh and sixth so that the output of the amplifier remains positive even after the charge on the third capacitor stabalizes. This maintains the relay coil 117 in-operative and the normally closed switching contacts 83, 89 are held closed by the spring means thereby maintaining the terminal device in the loop circuit.
When the telephone set 13c (FIG. 4) is taken off-hook, the voltage between loop lines 15b and 16b drops. This will lower the voltage at the positive input to the operational amplifier earlier than at the negative input causing the operational amplifier output to swing to the potential of the negative line 104. The feed back through the sixth and seventh resistors will keep the output of the operational amplifier at the potential of the negative line. Current will flow through the relay coil and co-operably switch the relay switching contacts to stationary contacts 147 and 148 thereby disconnecting the terminal device 18 from the loop circuit. The eight resistor 153 permits current to continue flowing through the optical couplers and the disconnector circuit remains energized. The eighth capacitor 140 provides a stored charge for a sufficient duration when the operational amplifier output goes negative to permit the switching contacts to switch without causing the operational amplifier to go positive during the interval the loop circuit is open during the contact switching time. The zener diode 113 provides protection against excessively high voltage being applied to the operational amplifier. The seventh diode 115 provides for disipation of voltage spikes produced when current stops flowing through the relay coil 117. Referring to FIG. 8, a fourth embodiment of the invention is shown employing a voltage sensitive zener diode 155 and an electromagnetic relay means 156 sensitive to small current changes. A full wave diode rectifier bridge 157 is serially connected in a loop line 15e for assuring that a cathode end of the zener diode is always positive with respect to an anode end 155a of the zener diode when current flows through the circuit. The first loop line 15e is connected to a first bridge diode 158 cathode end 159 and a second bridge diode 160 anode end 161. A first diode anode end 162 is connected to a relay coil 163 negative end 164 and a third bridge diode 165 anode end 166. A second bridge diode cathode end 167 is connected to a zener diode 155 cathode end 168, a fourth bridge diode 169 cathode end 170 and a zener diode by-pass relay switching contact 168a. The switching contact is maintained normally open with respect to a relay stationary contact 168b by a mechanical spring means 168d. The stationary contact is connected to a relay coil variable contact disposed between the relay coil negative end and a relay coil positive end 168c. A third diode cathode end 171 and a fourth diode anode end 172 are both connected to a terminal device 173 and a loop line input terminal 174 and a terminal device loop line output terminal 175 connects to a second loop line 16e.
When the central office sends the AC bell ringing signal over the loop line, the voltage is sufficiently high to exceed the zener diode zener voltage and current flows through the loop circuit and through the relay coil thereby causing the switching contact to close. This electrically by-passes the zener diode and DC current is permitted to flow through the variable contact and out through the lower portion of the relay coil and then through the off-hook terminal device 173 and through the loop line 16e back to the central office. The variable coil contact is adjusted so that a sufficiently strong electromagnetic field is developed to hold the switching contact in closed position until a telephone set 177 is taken off-hook. When the telephone set is taken off-hook, the loop line voltage across the subscriber's loop lines 15e,16e drops lowering the voltage across the coil and the current flowing through it and the electromagnetic field is no longer strong enough to hold the switched contact closed. The contacts open and the terminal device is disconnected and no longer interferes with the telephone set.
Although these exemplary embodiments of the invention have been disclosed for the purpose of illustration, it will be understood that various changes, modifications and substitutions may be incorporated which do not constitute a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in and defined by the claims appearing hereinafter.
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|U.S. Classification||379/195, 379/82, 379/380, 379/388.06, 379/387.01, 379/395.01|
|International Classification||H04M1/654, H04M1/82|
|Cooperative Classification||H04M1/82, H04M1/654|
|European Classification||H04M1/82, H04M1/654|
|Aug 4, 1987||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Apr 26, 1992||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Jun 30, 1992||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 19920426